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"I'm different, that's for sure. Even when I look at works of art that are considered beautiful, even when I watch plays that are said to be rare tragedies, even when my mother died, I didn't feel much emotion."

Gerard muttered like it was someone else's affair, and Ortansia felt her chest tighten.

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'Perhaps because Brother was rejected by his mother, who also said terrible things to him, that made him so sad that he shut down his emotions?'

I read in a book once that when a person has a shocking experience, the person suppresses their emotions in order to protect themselves. Even Ortansia experienced a hazy feeling that everything was a dream right after she was kidnapped by a cult that massacred people very easily.

'I'm sure my brother slowly suppressed his emotions to protect himself.'

Ortansia gently squeezed Gerard's hand.

His hand was cold.

"Onii-sama’s hands are cold. My mum told me that people with cold hands, on the contrary, have warm hearts!"

"Human body temperature varies according to gender, age, constitution and physical condition. That's just superstition."

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"Mooo! I want to believe in these romantic discourses!"

The air around Gerard  softened a bit as Ortansia was indignant. 

Little by little. She wants to melt his frozen heart.

So now…

"Hey, brother. Let's make us… hambunko."


Gerard frowned as if to say, "You're talking strangely again," and Ortansia frantically added an explanation.

"My mom used to say that if you share your joys and sorrows with the people you care about, you will be happy. That's why my brother and I are hanbunko!"

Saying this, Ortansia gave a big smile. 

'If something fun happens, I will report it to my brother. Then I will laugh as hard as I can. And if that makes my brother feel happy, even just a little, then I'll be happy.'

"... Is that some kind of philosophy? Which faction?"

"If need be, I will be the founder of the Ortansia Acadaemy!"

"I see."

A little disappointed that Gerard didn't reply as she expected, Ortansia continued.

"Don't forget, brother. We are hambunko. We will both be happy and sad together."


It was not clear whether Gerard was really convinced. It may simply be that Ortansia was talking nonsense, so he just went along with the conversation as he saw fit.

'It's getting dark. Let's go back."

"Yes, please guide me to the goat pasture next time!"

"When I have time."

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The next thing she knew, the stars were already beginning to shine in the sky.

In the midst of it, she found twin stars twinkling as if they were cuddling together and Ortansia smiled quietly.

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